Part One: Life is a Highway
The 41st Annual National Conference of Appellate Court Clerks, aka LawyerCon, aka Our-One-Vacation-of-the-Year, ran from July 14-18 in Richmond, Virginia. It is precisely 843 miles from St. Charles, MO, to Richmond, VA, according to Google Maps. That’s the equivalent of 12 hours, 16 minutes in a car driving down Interstate 64 — assuming there’s no road work, bad weather, accidents or stops for food, gas or restroom breaks.
“Guess What! This year we’re going to drive to the conference! Family Road Trip!!!”
“Is this because you said a bad word in front of the security agents when they were frisking your frail, octogenarian mother at the airport last year?”
“No, it’s because we love the family bonding that comes from family road trips. And we love looking at the beautiful scenery as we serenely drive down the highway. And we hate all the inconveniences of modern air travel. And it’s much cheaper to drive. And yes, maybe I’m afraid I’m on a no-fly list.”
“You hate to fly! It causes you excruciating pain! That’s all I hear about when we fly. And you hate the waiting.”
“Yes, but I can tolerate 15 minutes of excruciating pain and a few hours waiting in airports if I’m going to get there in a day. Driving will take two or three days stuck in a car and then there’s always the point where something goes wrong and you snap at me and I snap at you and we don’t talk to each other for a couple hours and it’s all very uncomfortable and then Andrew gets all stressed out…”
“Well, nothing bad will happen this year.”
“Whatever you say.”
And so it was that Lar ordered the maps from Triple A and signed up for the rental car and we packed our bags for the big trip. The plan was to leave St. Charles Friday night after work and drive 4 hours to a Comfort Inn in Indiana. The next day we would drive 8 hours and spend the night with our friends Rob and Crystal at a mountain resort in Virginia. Sunday we would drive the remaining 2 hours to Richmond, just in time for the conference to begin at noon.
Thursday night we go to pick up the rental car.
“Good news! We’ve upgraded you to an SUV at no extra charge!”
Uh. I don’t want an SUV. If I wanted an SUV I’d have asked for one. I drive cars. I don’t want some big, bulky mini-van that I can’t park.
“An SUV! At no extra charge?! That’s great! Isn’t that great, dear?”
Why did I marry this woman? We have absolutely nothing in common.
It turns out the Chevy Captiva was not a big, bulky thing but rather a modestly sized SUV that I didn’t have much trouble driving. Since we were driving and not flying — and since we now had an SUV — we took five times more stuff than normal. Because, you know, why have all that room and not use it?
The most important aspect of our new ride was the USB port that allowed us to play music through an iPod. While I generally hate new technology, especially as it applies to music (first it was LPs, then it was 8-tracks, then it was cassettes, then it was CDs, then it was MP3s — MAKE IT STOP) , I have come around to liking the idea of having several hours of music downloaded into a series of playlists that you can listen to without having to change discs every hour.
I brought along the CD case just in case. After all, we had room.
Coming Up: On The Road Again and Again and Again